With skills shortages affecting many sectors and affecting business growth, looking overseas for suitable talent is sometimes essential when Australians can’t be sourced to fill vacancies.
Before employers decide to embark on sponsoring an employee, there are several important things they should know. In this article, we’ll explore seven key aspects of sponsoring 482 visas.
Understanding the 482 Visa
The 482 visa, also known as the Temporary Skill Shortage (TSS) visa, is designed to allow Australian employers to bring in skilled workers from overseas to fill positions that cannot be easily filled by the local workforce.
There are three streams in the 482 Visa program: the Short-Term stream, the Medium-Term stream, and the Labour Agreement stream. The Short-Term stream allows employers to employ foreign workers for up to two years, while the Medium-Term stream allows employers to sponsor staff on the visa for up to four years. Some occupations can only be nominated on the Short-Term stream. It’s important to check the Department of Home Affair’s Skilled Occupation List to find out whether you can nominate the position you need to fill. And if yes, which stream you can nominate the occupation through.
If the occupation you want to sponsor isn’t on the Skilled Occupation List, then you might consider the Labour Agreement Stream. 482 visas issued on this stream are valid for 4 years. And they can take a long time to come through.
To sponsor a foreign worker on a 482 visa, employers must meet certain eligibility criteria. One essential requirement is to become an approved business sponsor by the Australian government. Here, employers must prove their business’s legitimacy and show their commitment to abiding by Australian laws. Additionally, they need to provide evidence that there’s a genuine shortage of qualified local candidates. Understanding and fulfilling the eligibility criteria is necessary to sponsoring a 482 visa holder.
Nomination of Occupations
When employers nominate an occupation for the 482 visa holder, this nomination must align with the employee’s skills and qualifications. Be aware of the specific skills and qualifications required for the nominated occupation. Sponsoring employers also need to ensure that the salary offered is in line with the market rate for that occupation in Australia. Meeting these requirements will help prevent delays in the visa application process.
Labor Market Testing
One important aspect employers should be aware of is labor market testing. Before hiring a foreign worker through the 482 visa program, Australian employers are typically required to demonstrate that they’ve made significant efforts to find a suitable Australian candidate. This process involves advertising the job vacancy to the local workforce for a specific duration. Employers must be prepared to document these efforts and demonstrate that no qualified local candidates were available for the job. Labor market testing ensures that foreign workers are only brought in when there is a genuine skill shortage in Australia.
Obligations and Responsibilities
Sponsoring a foreign employee on a 482 visa comes with obligations and responsibilities. Employers must provide support and care for their sponsored employees during their stay in Australia. This includes providing a safe work environment, complying with all Fair Work Australia regulations, and ensuring that the employee’s salary and working conditions are in line with the visa requirements ie the same as they would be for any Australian worker and Fair Work Australia laws. Employers should also be aware of the importance of maintaining records of their sponsored employees’ work and salary details, as the Australian government conducts audits to ensure compliance with these obligations. Non-compliance can result in severe consequences, including fines and loss of the ability to sponsor future employees.
Temporary vs. Permanent Residency
Employers do well to consider the long-term plans of their sponsored employees. Understanding the pathways to permanent residency and planning accordingly is crucial for both employers and foreign workers. The 482 visa is a temporary visa, which means it has an expiration date (after either two or four years). If an employer and their sponsored employee wish to extend their working relationship, they should consider options for permanent residency, such as the Employer Nomination Scheme (ENS) or the Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (RSMS). If sponsored employees would like to continue living and working in Australia, the employer may need to assist them in the process of transitioning from a temporary visa to a permanent residency visa.
Effective communication between employers and sponsored employees is crucial. Employers should be open to discussing any concerns or issues that the employee may have. It’s essential to provide a welcoming and supportive work environment to help foreign employees adjust to their new surroundings. Employers should be aware of cultural differences and provide appropriate support, such as information about local resources. A well-supported foreign employee is more likely to be productive and satisfied, benefiting both the employee and the employer as well as the local community where both of you live and work in.
Sponsoring 482 visas can be a viable solution for employers seeking skilled workers from abroad to fill ongoing job vacancies. However, it is essential for employers to be well-informed about the various aspects of the program, including eligibility criteria, labor market testing, nomination, and sponsorship obligations, as well as the distinction between temporary and permanent residency. By understanding these key factors, employers can navigate the process successfully.
Author: Greg Nicolson is Managing Director of the Australian Business Migration Group MARN 0959139
Australian Business Migration Group are business sponsor and 482 visa specialists.